Zip Up Files to Hide Your Secrets [How to]
By on March 6th, 2010

zip-icon Zip files are a great way to pack up a collection of files to send them to other people, usually in an email. At least three or four times a year, I run into someone who doesn’t know how to zip up a collection of files in Windows. I ran into three people in the last two weeks at work.

Years ago, you had to have a third party tool such as WinZip to create and open zip files. In 2001, Windows XP was released with built-in zip capabilities. Microsoft decided to call these compressed folders.

Not only is it easy to use the built in zip features in Windows, it’s also possible to password protect zip files so that others can’t open the files inside them. However, even though a zip file is password protected, you can still see a list of files inside it. I have always hated that, but I found a way around it.

Here is how to hide all of your top secret files in a zip file (or compressed folder).

First, let’s create two zip folders. You’ll see why we need two of them shortly.

To create a zip folder, right click into any folder or in an empty place on your desktop, and choose NewCompressed Folder.

image

Let’s choose Stuffand Top Secretas the names of the new zip files.

Now we can add some top secret files to our Stufffolder. I’m going to add a JPG picture to it here. I’ll open up Stuff.zipby double clicking it, then drag the JPG file into it.

add-files-to-zip

Now let’s add the Stuffzip file to the Top Secretzip file.

add-zip-to-zip

Now we need to add a password to the Top Secretcompressed folder.

menu-add-a-password

You’ll have to type your password in twice to confirm it.

enter-password-twice

That’s it. The next time anyone opens that zip folder, all they’ll be able to see is a file named Stuff.zip. If they try to open it or extract it, they’ll have to know the password you’ve set.

trying-to-open-protected-file

As you can see, all of the files inside the Stuff.zip are hidden. That’s why we needed two zip files.

As a final cleanup step, you can delete the older copies of Stuffand the JPG. These are safely and securely inside the Top Secretzip folder now.

delete-older-copies

These techniques will work in all versions of Windows released after XP, as well as XP itself.

Here are some other ways to use zip files:

1. Compress and Zip Files Online Without Any Software
2. How to Fix Default Zip File Behavior
3. Open Zip Files Online
4. Repair Corrupted Zip Files
5. Unzip or Extract Files Online

Here are some other ways to hide files:

1. Lock And Hide Files & Folders
2. Windows Scripts: Show/Hide Hidden Files and Folders In Windows
3. Password Protect and Hide Personal Folders
4. Hide Drives From My Computer

If you have your own special way to hide secret data, let us know in the comments below.

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Author: Clif Sipe Google Profile for Clif Sipe
Promoting Freeware and Free information since 2004. Owner of FreewareWiki.com with over 2000 pages of freebies. Please subscribe to my Google Feed or follow me on Twitter @clifnotes.

Clif Sipe has written and can be contacted at clif@techie-buzz.com.
  • http://sites.google.com/site/mametitles/ Giorgos

    Or just hide your sensitive data, inside an encrypted partition on Linux, or in a Truecrypt volume on Windows.

    Both are virtually uncrackable and easy to unmount.

    Greets!!! :-)

    • http://clif-notes.blogspot.com Clif

      Hi Giorgos, I'm happy to hear from you. Yes, TrueCrypt is awesome. I like the fact that it's volumns are virtually undetectable.

      However, if I need to send a private attachment to a friend, via email, this technique is handy. It's not very secure and can easily be cracked, but most people wouldn't go to that much trouble.

      The fact that it doesn't require you to install any apps to access it is a big selling point for me.

      I checked your link to Mame. Would you care to tell us more about it? You can write me here – clif at techie-buzz, or at my still valid address that you have.

      Best wishes,

      Clif

  • http://dtechwiz.blogspot.com Karthik Prabhu

    Good article Clif.. I too have written a post in my site which tells you how to lock a folder without any software..! I found this method on some site long back.. But it works really good.. It's really a unique method..I have created a Dos file which locks the files for you.. It works only on Windows as it has been done in DOS.. Here's the link : http://dtechwiz.blogspot.com/2008/04/lock-folders

    • http://clif-notes.blogspot.com Clif Sipe

      Hi Karthik – checked your post. How can you say it doesn't take any software? You have to download and use a file named Locker.exe.

      If you still have the DOS code, I'd be interested in that. I have no use for an EXE. There are tons of those out there which do the same tasks.

      Sorry if that sounds harsh. I speak my mind.

      Best wishes to you

      Clif

      • http://dtechwiz.blogspot.com Karthik Prabhu

        I actually had uploaded the .exe file for people who do not know how to use a .bat file.. Here's another version of the file.. It is a .rar file consisting of one bat file and another file.. I actually found the way to lock the files on some other site.. I modified it and added an option for password.. Check it out.. It's all done in DOS.. You can check out the DOS code if you want.. Here's the link : http://www.humyo.com/10227445/Lock%20Folders.rar

        • http://clif-notes.blogspot.com Clif Sipe

          Very cool, Thanks Karthik.
          I understand what it's doing. Turns a folder into a hidden shortcut to the control panel. This would work well to keep newbs out of it. It's probably not invisible to third party Windows Explorer replacements tho.

          Thanks again!

          Clif

          • http://dtechwiz.blogspot.com Karthik Prabhu

            You're welcome Clif.. And you got it exactly right.. It turns it into a shortcut to control panel.. It's useful to hide files for people whose computer is used by many people like parents or relatives or friends..:)

  • http://ffbu.blogspot.com/ Dave

    Nice tutorial, I do mine a lot more advanced…not even professional techs will know where my stuff is. You can also hide any file into a picture.

  • SOURABH

    HOW TO UNLOCK PASSWORD ENCRYPTED WINRAR FILES??
    PLEASE TELL ME ANY PATH TO UNLOCK FILES.

    • http://news.google.com/news/search?q=clif+sipe Clif

      Hi Sourabh – I'm sorry – you will have to go the the dark side of the internet for advice like that. Be extremely careful when surfing those places. Most will try to infect your computer. A good search term is "crack password rar".

  • http://www.itrush.com Cool Gadget

    Wow, this is a very cool trick.. have to try it cause I have so many top secret files to be password protected.. :P Thanks

  • Sandy

    hi,

    I didnt found this Compressed zip folder option under New -

    all i got is winzip and winrar.

    And this method is not working with me in Winzip.

    So how do i get this compressed (Zipped) folder option ?????

    • http://www.google.com/profiles/clif.notes Clif Sipe

      Hi Sandy – when you install Winzip, it removes the Compressed folder option. If you want it back, you will have to uninstall Winzip.

  • sajeevan

    bullshit. any kid can do this………………

  • Zach

    Well this program with my usb drive is called SecretZip and it allows the program to hide files within a vfo file which can only be read with the program. You cant open or see what is inside of the file unless you enter the password. You can put several passwords on the files too.

 
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